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Journalists Looking For Government Money

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the bizarro-world dept.

The Media 323

We've been following the ongoing struggles of the print media, watching as some publications have died off and others have held to outdated principles and decried the influence of the internet. A side effect of this has been many journalists put out of work and many others fearful that informed reporting is on its way out as well. Now, an editorial in the Washington Post calls for a solution journalists would likely have scoffed at only a few years ago: federal subsidies. Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols write, "What to do? Bailing out media conglomerates would be morally and politically absurd. These firms have run journalism into the ground. If they cannot make it, let them go. Wait for 'pay-wall' technologies, billionaire philanthropists or unimagined business models to generate enough news to meet the immense demands of a self-governing society? There is no evidence that such a panacea is on the horizon. This leaves one place to look for a solution: the government." They hasten to add, "Did we just call for state-run media? Quite the opposite."

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Did I just say First Post? (-1)

OakDragon (885217) | about 5 years ago | (#29934377)

Quite the opposite!

good description (5, Insightful)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | about 5 years ago | (#29934381)

They have run journalism into the ground...

If they would move past "Infotainment" and got back to writing good "News" instead of creating "Crisis" and attacking an administration simply to raise advertising funding I'd be inclined to buy a newspaper to read.

Re:good description (1, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 5 years ago | (#29934461)

If they would move past "Infotainment" and got back to writing good "News" instead of creating "Crisis" and attacking an administration simply to raise advertising funding I'd be inclined to buy a newspaper to read.

I don't like this any more than you but come on, the newspapers are folding because people are reading their news online...for free. It's as simple as that.

Re:good description (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 5 years ago | (#29934669)

I stopped reading the newspaper before I started reading news online. I stopped reading the newspaper because every article contained some political commentary whether there was any relationship between the subject of the story and the political comment.

Re:good description (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 5 years ago | (#29934687)

Exactly. I quit reading and subscribing to both my local and state papers when every. single. article. had enough spin slathered on top of it that I felt like I was reading Pravda. Way too many papers have been completely taken over by the hard left or hard right and pretty much spin everything so hard it feels like it was written by birthers. No thanks.

Re:good description (4, Interesting)

FutureDomain (1073116) | about 5 years ago | (#29934769)

Have you read Pravda lately? Ironically, they sometimes seem to be more insightful than the American media.

Re:good description (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | about 5 years ago | (#29934839)

Have you read Pravda lately? Ironically, they sometimes seem to be more insightful than the American media.

This is slashdot - people here read Depravada - russian pr0n.

The problem is easily fixed - let the weaker ones fold. Right now, there are obviously too many newspapers for the market. Also, their product is ecologically unsound, and by the time it reaches the reader, it's out of date.

If 90% were to close tomorrow, it would give the rest a chance to survive as a niche product, because newspapers are no longer mainstream.

I was at the supermarket Thursday, and the local paper was trying to get people to sign up by giving away a free mp3 player. Talk about a promotion stuck in the last century - who DOESN'T have a cell phone that plays mp3s? What next - free buggy whips?

Re:good description (5, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | about 5 years ago | (#29934851)

250 years ago, there were no "newspapers". They were technologically impossible, and demographically unreadable.

We had broadsheets for the limited press-runs we were capable of. And for the limited, literate population of large cities. These were pasted as bills, and informally circulated in the leaf.

In the time of the American and French revolutions, the day belonged to the pamphleteer. His screeds, fulminations and genuine insights were the fuel for popular discourses. When the American Constitution enshrined a freedom for the press in basic law, it was the pamphleteer and "almanack" editor for whom this waas a guarantee. You may recognize the pamphleteer.

Today we call him "the blogger".

Newspapers grew, as a 19th century phenomenon for the obvious reasons we implied, as literate middle-classes expanded in the cities, with money to spend. Industrial papermaking and printing replaced paper-hanging and letter-press, and it became possible to turn the massive engines of industry to something as trivial as glorified broadsheets, rather than simply the production of necessities. In fact, investment capital seeking returns, demanded finding new avenues for industrialization. The newspaper was born.

Now that the demands and opportunities of 19th century central industrialization have passed from the page of history, why should the newspaper magically be granted an existence, into perpetuity? They did not found our societies, and were instrumental mostly in our worst excesses and prejudices, not in promoting our best values and opportunities.

If they still make buggy-whips, let their time fade away.

Re:good description (2, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | about 5 years ago | (#29934935)

Dammit, if the newspaper industry is going to get a bailout, then I demand a subsidy for my failing horse and buggy firm!

Re:good description (1)

oh2 (520684) | about 5 years ago | (#29934955)

Mod the above guy up!

Re:good description (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29935331)

But if they get a bailout then will I get some government subsidy for my witty, entertaining, and insightful Slashdot comments, or will it just for my troll posts?

Re:good description (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29935407)

Those who think "sensationalism" or "political slant" is anything new need to go watch the movie His Girl Friday, made in the 1930s. This stuff dates waaaay back all the way to the 1800s. It's nothing new.

When you have a free press it's only natural the paper will reflect the view of whoever owns it. It's our job as citizens to read both sides of the story and determine where the truth lies. Back in the past that would have meant reading both the Philadelphia Democrat and the Inquirer (republican-slanted).

Re:good description (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 5 years ago | (#29935009)

No, the entertainment factor injected into news has put a lot of people, including myself, off of looking at most news. A newspaper is ideal for sitting on the shitter but when what's coming out of me is less shit than what I'm reading them I won't pay for the paper.

Re:good description (4, Interesting)

jadavis (473492) | about 5 years ago | (#29935341)

the newspapers are folding because people are reading their news online...for free

The WSJ[1], and the Economist[2] are doing just fine. Why are particular publications immune? There must be another explanation.

[1] http://www.editorsweblog.org/newspaper/2009/10/wsj_rising_circulation_offers_glimmer_of.php [editorsweblog.org]
[2] http://www.economistgroup.com/our_news/press_releases/2009/results_for_the_year_ended_march_31st_2009.html [economistgroup.com]

Re:good description (2, Interesting)

gerf (532474) | about 5 years ago | (#29934539)

They have run journalism into the ground...

Bull. Their business models just suck. Really, advertising potential has not decreased, but only shifted ever so slightly. If you offer a truly good experience on a local oriented website, you can recoup the losses of the drop in dead-tree paper sales. There might be more work involved, but there is still potential

Re:good description (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934887)

"Bull. Their business models just suck."

It's neither all one or the other. Their business models are poor. Their needs assessment is pitiful, since they don't contact customers to figure out why they are leaving. Their writing has gone into hard left or right spin. And their ads have just kept getting bigger and worse or more pervasive. Their formatting sucks; they've brought newspaper to the online world by following the online format of an article page, which is not the strong points in the newspaper format which you could read and move on quickly across a large paper spread.

Even if they are bailed out, they will fail in the long run.

Personally, I think it's because newspapers are generally long (top to bottom) formats and most media and monitors are widescreen. Pissy as shit to read a newspaper that way. I'd buy an HDTV mount that could be turned easily vertical if newspapers released their content into 1080p vertical and sent it to me for $.25 at 3am in the morning and 5am in the evening in a saveable format. I spend more time clicking and loading web page articles than I used to reading an entire newspaper.

One of the better online newspapers I read was distributed in a pdf format that you could click and read. I could zoom, click to stories, zoom out. Probably was, it was a bit slow interface wise. The only reason I stopped reading it was because of the lack of content and it was more a creative non-status quo local paper attempt, which meant it came out once a month really and it really didn't have great stories. But the format was glorious, particularly reading it on a 4:3 monitor.

I don't mind ads. I like reading a newspaper, see an ad, and moving past it quickly, or not if it was something that appealed to me. Good to see local sales. I think newspaper folks just don't get it, and should be bringing the newspaper to digital formats and making their products a thing to buy, not merely and only adapting to new forms of distribution. They have to change their entire game to them, instead of chasing pieces of technology, whether it be digital ink, web, banner ads, etc. They've piecemealed themselves into oblivion, and as such have gone to the crappy "crisis" coverage to gain temporary numbers, alienating what little audience they had left.

Re:good description (3, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 5 years ago | (#29935137)

They have run journalism into the ground...

Those few who retain some form of journalistic integrity are probably doing fine, especially if they have adapted their business models in a sensible way. To take an example, the only news subscription I have nowadays is to The Economist magazine. It's worth reading every week, almost from cover to cover, with proper coverage and generally thoughtful analysis (I don't always agree with their opinions, but enjoy reading them). Even the advertising tends to be good quality, from the likes of Boeing, DHL, HSBC, etc.

Importantly, their web site is free-access for a limited amount of their content, but a good deal of it requires a subscription. Happily, the dead-tree subscription includes an online access subscription. Mostly, I read the printed version, but occasionally use the web site.

Another difference compared to much of the news media is that the writers of artcles in The Economist are usually not identified. One reads the report for what it is, not for which self-styled superstar of journalism happened to pen it. Equally, the anonymity of the journalists prevents them from posturing in the report or attempting any self-aggrandizement in the style of would-be superstars of journalism.

Re:good description (4, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | about 5 years ago | (#29934603)

They have run journalism into the ground...

Without a doubt.

attacking an administration simply to raise advertising funding

I have nothing against attacks on administrations, but what passes for such today is largely irrelevant misdirection. Journalists with any significant insight into the subjects reported about, necessary to avoid being just a spokespuppet, are rare. Which is largely why professional 'reporters' are losing out to people with knowledge about the subject matter but with only amateurish reporting skills. If the journalist is merely a conduit, well, then frankly a blog page can do that.

But neither is really relevant. The real problem for the journalism business is there's simply too much of it. Barring the prospects of consumers suddenly getting vast amounts of new free time, it simply needs to be massively downsized. In the modern world we don't need 100 reporters at a White House press conference. The job can be done by three or four, and then aggregated and translated. We don't need one reporter per olympic sportsman. Consumers can only read that much in a day, and when output is globally available, there isn't enough time in the world to consume even a miniscule fraction of it.

Once far more of the business is dead and gone, then the remaining outlets will get many more eyeballs and much better advertising rates. Redundant work will have been eliminated, and in a functioning economy we'd all have gotten a little bit more free time as less actual work needs to be done. In this one we'll instead get a slight tax raise and get forced to subsidize work that has no demand and shouldn't be done.

Re:good description (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 5 years ago | (#29935329)

In the modern world we don't need 100 reporters at a White House press conference. The job can be done by three or four, and then aggregated and translated.

3 or 4 reporters can't turn into an ugly mob when a gov't official starts shoveling shit down their throats.
So lets keep the large press conferences and press pools.
Or do you really think 3 or 4 people can represent 300 million Americans?

Which is largely why professional 'reporters' are losing out to people with knowledge about the subject matter but with only amateurish reporting skills. If the journalist is merely a conduit, well, then frankly a blog page can do that.

Copyediting? Ship the Work Out to India
http://www.businessweek.com/print/globalbiz/content/jul2008/gb2008078_678274.htm [businessweek.com]

Journalists aren't losing out to bloggers.
Sooner or later the USA is going to outsource everything.

Re:good description (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29935177)

Eh, obama bin laden has already offered to bailout the papers. This is not about journalism nor jobs. It is simply more govt and less freedom, which is EXACTLY why obama bib laden suggested it previously. That maggot thinks he can buy everyone to support his fascist viewpoint. BITCH needs to die

Hurray for the "free" press! (5, Insightful)

cheddarlump (834186) | about 5 years ago | (#29934433)

What a fantastic way to ensure a free press: have them paid by the very institution they're supposed to be the watchdogs for. I'm sure they won't forget how to be objective and unbiased though... /sarcasm

Oh, they'll criticize the government all right. (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 5 years ago | (#29934505)

The thing is, the criticism they'll hand out will be like the BBC, bitching about how the government isn't doing enough.

-jcr

Re:Oh, they'll criticize the government all right. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934559)

And thats much diffrent then now, how exactly?

Re:Oh, they'll criticize the government all right. (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29935361)

The BBC is quite critical of the government doing the wrong thing. A few things that they've criticised over the last few years (not an exhaustive list, just ones that I remember):
  • Invading Iraq with insufficient evidence.
  • MP's expenses.
  • Reclassifying cannabis as Class B against expert advice (and then sacking the experts for having politically incorrect opinions).

Government media CAN be objective and unbiased. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934573)

The American Press is already owned by the government, just not directly. When was the last, really hard hitting documentary you saw on American television? When was the last time you saw a journalist beat up on a senator or congressman (with good, tough, questions and a refusal to yeild) that led to them "blackballing" that particular newspaper/journalist?

One of the best Australian TV shows that is quite prepared to ask tough/embaressing questions of any member of parliament is the "7:30 Report", on the ABC. The ABC (Australian Broadcast Comission) television station is solely funded by the Government, yet there is never, ever, any question about the integrity of its host (Kerry O'Brien), despite the interviewees often being the ones responsible for his pay cheque.

I imagine it is a lot worse for all of the commercial outlets beceause they have to walk the line of being tough but nice so that where there's a new, exclusive, story to break, they have a chance of getting it. To Government funded media, there's no quest to be first with a major, breaking, story, only to do it right and do it well.

Without corruption, I can't find a way to justify the pandering of American reporters to their politicians. And that exists today, without any subsidies, etc.

Re:Government media CAN be objective and unbiased. (2, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | about 5 years ago | (#29935279)

The American Press is already owned by the government, just not directly.

The government doesn't own the press in the United States. Rather, they are both owned by corporations. The corporations want you to *think* that the government "owns" the press, and that the government is a Big Bad Boogeyman who must be defanged, because representational democracy is the only weapon the people have against unchecked corporate power.

Re:Government media CAN be objective and unbiased. (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29935387)

One of the advantages something like the BBC has is that it is too big for government officials to blackball. It an MP goes on Question Time or Newsnight and gets a grilling, then clips from that will show up everywhere. If they then refuse to talk to BBC reporters then that will be reported. The journalistic establishment is quite close nit in London and if you are refusing to talk to some reporters then you can bet that the ones that you will talk to are going to go out of their way to give you a hard time. If you don't talk to any, then they'll just get your opponents to talk about you instead of letting you speak.

Re:Hurray for the "free" press! (5, Insightful)

pudge (3605) | about 5 years ago | (#29934605)

They hasten to add, "Did we just call for state-run media? Quite the opposite."

No, that is precisely what they called for.

Whoever holds the purse strings is in control.

The government might GRANT control, day to day, to the private people, but they can exert control whenever they wish to.

And you're exactly right cheddarlump ... the press cannot be beholden to the government. It's a travesty. Just like "shield laws," where the press are beholden to the government to offer them special privileges, which, being legislative and particular to the people who have them, can be revoked.

The way to an actual free press is to for government to give every citizen the same rights, and to stay completely out of the system.

The real story here is that they want to save their own jobs, because they cannot figure out how to save them any other way. This isn't about The Press. If it were, they'd not have been doing such a terrible job (even before the Web came around).

I mean come on ... look at the fricking New York Times. In the wake of Jayson Blair, they promised to rein in anonymous sources. They didn't. As a result, no one trusts the Times anymore, and no one should.

No one trusts the "blogs" either, but at least you don't pay for those.

Re:Hurray for the "free" press! (5, Insightful)

Glock27 (446276) | about 5 years ago | (#29934815)

And you're exactly right cheddarlump ... the press cannot be beholden to the government. It's a travesty. Just like "shield laws," where the press are beholden to the government to offer them special privileges, which, being legislative and particular to the people who have them, can be revoked.

The total irony here is many media outlets are being increasingly ignored over their fawning, lapdog approach to 0bama - without even a financial benefit.

They're really just asking to be paid for their efforts.

Two points (2, Interesting)

microbox (704317) | about 5 years ago | (#29934923)

Whoever holds the purse strings is in control.
  • The BBC is a government institution that holds its own purse strings -- effectively having the right to raise its own taxes.
  • In western countries, public news organisations offer by far the highest quality of reporting. Furthermore, we get that without advertising, and for less total cost. It's amazes me that people will dismiss such a solution out of hand.

Personally I can't wait for the demise of corporate media -- which is beholden to advertising and other corporate interests, and has a dismal record for blatant editorialising.

Re:Hurray for the "free" press! (1)

oh2 (520684) | about 5 years ago | (#29935011)

We have subsidies for the press in Sweden, and its working fairly well. The way it works is that the biggest newspaper in a certain market gets no subsidies, but the smaller competitors do. Its intended to ensure that no one company or political organization gets a monopoly on news and published opinion just by being large enough that they can kill off their competitors through that.

The government has no real say in who gets the subsidies since its illegal for a government minister to interfere with the day to day matters of his department. There are no purse strings to pull, and god help the politician in Sweden that even tries, the entire media would be all over him or her.

Re:Hurray for the "free" press! (2, Informative)

oh2 (520684) | about 5 years ago | (#29935059)

We spend about $60M per year on this in Sweden. The conditions are that you have to be the second largest newspaper in town, have a circulation of at least 2000 mainly through subscriptions, must not have more than 30% of the local market and it must not have turn a profit. There are other minor conditions as well, but thats basically how it works. The money is apportioned by a special board thats politically independent.

Re:Hurray for the "free" press! (1, Funny)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | about 5 years ago | (#29934751)

What a fantastic way to ensure a free press: have them paid by the very institution they're supposed to be the watchdogs for.

I find that hard to believe. Where are Jon and Kate Gosselin going to get the money?

And let's not forget... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934857)

Government money = tax money = our money.

This is just an end run around the consumer: Pay us voluntarily or we'll reach into your wallet ourselves. Of course, right now we're reaching into our childrens' childrens' wallets.

You IDIOT (1, Troll)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 5 years ago | (#29935115)

The press is indeed the watchdog. So watches the media moguls? The journalists paid by those moguls?

Why do you think you see so little info in the big media controlled press about copyright abuses by big media? Gosh, I wonder why.

Amazing, you can spot that it is a bad idea for the press to be owned by anyone but only think it is bad if the government is the one doing the owning. My complements to your brainwasher, he did a wonderful job, especially considering how delicate it is to wash such a small brain.

Let them die. (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29934439)

Else we'll have the situation with Boscovs which was bailed-out, but after examining the store, I think should have died.

This store has not been modernized its look since the 1980s, still employs three people to man every single register (wasteful), and carries product a modern consumer has little-to-no interest in buying (sewing patterns & machines to make your own clothes). Other stores like Penneys and Sears have streamlined their operations, eliminating product that doesn't sell, and having 3 employees serve an entire QUARTER of a store not just one register. They've cut costs and grown more efficient. Boscovs has not.

Government bail-outs for stores just encourage inefficiency. Ditto bail-outs for newspapers. Let the papers innovate or pass-away into history (along with horsewhips and cobblers).

Re:Let them die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934875)

I agree, let them die. The mainstream media are decrying the death of "informed journalism". Well tough shit. Informed journalism has been dying for 20 years, and you're the ones who killed it. What is left is a spectrum from infotainment to willful misinformation to downright propaganda. You're dying because nobody wants you any more, good riddance.

State run media alright! (2, Insightful)

SirAstral (1349985) | about 5 years ago | (#29934443)

Once you start getting $$$ from good ole goobermint teet they pretty much tell you what you can do. Same will happen with the media. After all, if they allow journalists to get money, how are they going to control who gets the $$$ or not?

It's simple! They only fund people that are "favorable" to this years 'fad' administration.

Re:State run media alright! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934831)

Is this any worse than mega-conglomerates controlling it, atleast content-wise? I'm not saying I want to spend more government money, but are you under the illusion that only the government would want to control stories? When was the last time you heard a story about a huge corporation (I'm not talking about a mining accident here) that shed it in a very negative light?
To quote an anonymous poster above from Australia:
The American Press is already owned by the government, just not directly. When was the last, really hard hitting documentary you saw on American television? When was the last time you saw a journalist beat up on a senator or congressman (with good, tough, questions and a refusal to yeild) that led to them "blackballing" that particular newspaper/journalist? One of the best Australian TV shows that is quite prepared to ask tough/embaressing questions of any member of parliament is the "7:30 Report", on the ABC. The ABC (Australian Broadcast Comission) television station is solely funded by the Government, yet there is never, ever, any question about the integrity of its host (Kerry O'Brien), despite the interviewees often being the ones responsible for his pay cheque. I imagine it is a lot worse for all of the commercial outlets beceause they have to walk the line of being tough but nice so that where there's a new, exclusive, story to break, they have a chance of getting it. To Government funded media, there's no quest to be first with a major, breaking, story, only to do it right and do it well. Without corruption, I can't find a way to justify the pandering of American reporters to their politicians. And that exists today, without any subsidies, etc.

Wha? (4, Insightful)

jav1231 (539129) | about 5 years ago | (#29934449)

How would government financing of media be anything but state-run media? The media is already tainted with clear and evident bias. And that's on all fronts, for those who want to taunt Fox news. We expect it from commentators and that is generally where the most overt lies but most news agencies get their news from AP and Reuters feeds. And many of them frankly read like commentary. As if personal bias hasn't destroyed true journalism over the past several decades what do you think asking for a hand-out from an administration already quite intolerant of dissent is going to do?

We already HAVE gov subsidized media conglomerates (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934457)

The broadcast spectrum monopolies that CBS,NBC,ABC don't pay a cent for and use to ram nonstop propaganda and spam down our throats, plus the entire copyright system (deployment of government power to control what people can do with the information on their own computers). That's many many billions of bucks worth of subsidies, maybe 100's of billions. The cellular phone spectrum monopolies are at least creating revenue, but the broadcast garbage is supposedly a public service.

Shut down broadcast TV completely, I mean all of it, have one govt-operated channel for emergency info but have it show weather reports and/or CSPAN 24/7 unless an actual emergency is taking place. Turn the rest of the spectrum over to low-power unlicensed use (like wifi). If companies want to show cheesy sitcoms, use the internet. And adjust the copyright system to stay out of people's private noncommercial communications, but to clamp down on companies (that means Google, Facebook, etc) cashing in on incidental noncommercial publishing (that means stuff like slashdot comments, that are essentially ephemeral and conversational in nature, but get vacuumed and monetized by 3rd parties who had nothing to do with producing them).

Re:We already HAVE gov subsidized media conglomera (0)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | about 5 years ago | (#29934487)

you sir are correct - I'd mod you up if I had some mod points - bravo

Re:We already HAVE gov subsidized media conglomera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934581)

Stop Google "cashing in on incidental noncommercial publishing" ? Do you want to destroy Google by not allowing them to be a search engine ? This is very strange.

Re:We already HAVE gov subsidized media conglomera (4, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29934729)

>>>The broadcast spectrum monopolies that CBS,NBC,ABC don't pay a cent for

False. I wish people would stop repeating this oft-stated lie. The ~2000 TV stations plus ~10,000 lowpower/clear air neighborhood stations all pay a lease for their spectrum (called a license fee).

>>>plus the entire copyright system

On this we agree. The original version in the 1790 Act was reasonable - 14 years of monopoly helped the authors stand on their own feet and earn money from their labor. Today's 105-year span is ridiculous. It's like creating a welfare state where an author pen a best-seller in his 20s, and then sit on his ass for the rest of his life, signing books, and collecting the residuals. (cough J.K.Rowlings). The rest of us poor slobs have to work 'til we're 70 or 80.

14 years plus a possibility for renewal (28 years total) is long enough.

Re:We already HAVE gov subsidized media conglomera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29935183)

To be fair, in the fourteen years since her first book, JK Rowlings has already earned enough to "sit on her ass for the rest of her life."

Personally, I don't think it's as undeserved as you seem to believe. Indeed, I see JKR as positive argument for shorter-term copyrights: how well they can reward even when they are for a short time.

Re:We already HAVE gov subsidized media conglomera (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29934821)

Hold on, I just noticed this:

>>>Shut down broadcast TV completely, I mean all of it

I like my free television, thank you very much. Including the subchannels I am able to get 40 different programs at any time of the day. Why should I give that up for some inferior slow, interference-prone, overloaded, non-HD Wifi connection? I do watch some steaming television via the net, but don't particularly like it. It's poor sub-standard definition VHS-level quality and prone to sudden pauses in the middle of the show. I tried to watch Sanctuary on scifi.com, and the damn thing got stuck in an infinite loop - the same 30 seconds repeated over and over.

I prefer broadcast. Maybe someday in the future, say 2030, the internet will finally catchup to the same HD-level quality as over-the-air ATSC, but certainly not now.

Take their money (1)

rastilin (752802) | about 5 years ago | (#29934473)

If you take their money, they get power over you. Sorry but it's true to at least some degree. It might be all above board for a while, but eventually some if not all are bound to get comfortable working for the government, and they wouldn't want to rock the boat once that happens. If they were the sort of people to be completely honest anyway, they would also have trouble working for the current, highly political, news landscape.

Huh, so maybe things wouldn't be that different after all.

Print NPR? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934479)

...like a print version of National Public Radio? NPR is pretty much the last bastion of fact-based news on the air waves, why not do a similar setup for print? National syndicated stories partially subsidized by the federal government, local NPR news papers, supported by local donations, subscribe to the national content and supplement it with their own local content.

oh, sounds a lot like how commercial news papers and the AP news wire work already, minus the federal subsidies... besides, who wants to have their local print paper begging for donations for 2 weeks every year?

corporate welfare (5, Insightful)

el_gato_borracho (1218808) | about 5 years ago | (#29934481)

I'm sure the constant threat of their government funding being cut would NEVER affect their critical coverage of said government.

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934767)

Like it didn't affect NPR when their sponsors threatened to cut funding if they continued to have liberal viewpoints...

Re:corporate welfare (5, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 5 years ago | (#29934779)

And the presence of government funding would provide a convenient cutoff point for who is considered a journalist and who isn't. If you're not receiving the government subsidy, then you're not a real journalist and hence, aren't allowed in the press-only areas or to receive the other privileges extended to real journalists.

Whether they want to admit it or not (2, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | about 5 years ago | (#29934483)

a state-run media is exactly what they're calling for. Craven fools.

Re:Whether they want to admit it or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934643)

In Sweden newspapers and other media can get money from the state under some circumstances.
The media here is not controlled in any way* by the state.
(* except the laws against hate speech and such - but then those laws applies even if one don't take any money from the state)

They Already Represent the Government (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934501)

Hell, every large newspaper in the United States already represents the same lobbyist/corporate line as the government. Why shouldn't the government pay them, and make it official?

Subsidize paper chauvinism now! (4, Insightful)

SlappyBastard (961143) | about 5 years ago | (#29934507)

Am I the only person who is slightly appalled by saving a "medium"? I mean, fuck, why don't we just bailout the papyrus manufacturers while we're at it?

Obviously it's time to bail out Polaroid, or else there won't be any quality pictures ever taken ever again!!

Journalism will thrive. It will go back to its roots: pamphleteers. The idea of the monolithic newspaper journalistic elite is a product of a brief period during which corporations controlled the best distribution channels. Now they don't. Bloggers do. And journalism will be the better to show for it.

Re:Subsidize paper chauvinism now! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934609)

Hmmm. From Bernstein and Woodword to Drudge Report. You must be using a definition of "better" with which I am unfamiliar. Not that I disagree with the rest of your comments, but if bloggers are the future of journalism then we are fucked.

Re:Subsidize paper chauvinism now! (2, Interesting)

SlappyBastard (961143) | about 5 years ago | (#29934785)

I call bullshit! You can't cite the worst example as universal proof, you fucking Anonymous Coward!

There are tons of good web news sites out there. Read Talking Points Memo some time. Read Calculated Risk -- economics news on the web already far outpaces anything that has appeared in print since the days of Adam Smith. Does anyone remember reading anything in the print days as cool as the stuff Nate Silver posts online?

Web news already is superior.

Re:Subsidize paper chauvinism now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934615)

"Bloggers" don't control shit, and you know it. If the internet is your only medium for posting, or finding news, you've failed.

Re:Subsidize paper chauvinism now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934625)

Mod this up!

The News CONTENT should be of more importance than the medium or the egos who control its delivery.

Re:Subsidize paper chauvinism now! (1)

munitor (1632747) | about 5 years ago | (#29935375)

Amen. Their business model is shite and unsupportable, that's their problem. Look at broadcast television, which carries both national scope ads as well as slots for local ads. It's just gotten to the point where you can't support such an expensive medium when the web ads are a micro fraction of the price per reader. The papers just need to broaden their advertiser base to include more big national brands, subscribe to cheap wire service for any national/international news, and focus on local stories to get local readers.

On The Media (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 5 years ago | (#29934545)

On The Media [onthemedia.org] has pretty good coverage in their October 30'th episode, which you can download as an .mp3.

Re:On The Media (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 5 years ago | (#29934557)

Specificaly, this segment [onthemedia.org] .

Hmmm (4, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | about 5 years ago | (#29934583)

A solution journalists would have scoffed at a few years ago? Given that more of them are left-leaning Democrats than any other specific political orientation, why would journalists have opposed government subsidy?

Look, these guys claim that the job of journalism is to "question, analyze and speak truth to power". What a weaselly bunch of crap. They'll cover up anything for people they like (and that crosses the political spectrum). They even quote Obama as saying "Government without a tough and vibrant media is not an option for the United States of America." This is the same guy whose administration says that Fox News isn't a real news organization, mostly because a lot of its shows spend their time attacking him and his policies - i.e., being tough and vibrant. If you disagree with my politics, then imagine if instead of the Republican kabuki of not financially supporting information about abortion in worldwide birth control efforts were suddenly to apply to domestic newspapers the next time the political tide turns. Do you think that's good for democracy?

They then cite the historical example of some printing and postal subsidies (presumably similar to the current subsidies for books and other media via mail) and then suggest we should honor that by "greatly expand[ing] funding for public and community media, and establish[ing] policies that help convert dying daily newspapers into post-corporate low-profit news operations that realize the potential of the Internet." Do I get to qualify for "public and community" funding if I add a couple of news items to my posts about how home sales are doing in my neighborhood? (They're fine, FWIW.) Because otherwise it sounds suspiciously like how "community" funding keeps getting distributed via the same few organizations - the ones with the connections get solid government funding, and in return they toe the line.

I like newspapers. I enjoy sitting down on Sunday morning and slowly making my way through the whole thing. So, apparently, does the president. But making public policy based on the Sunday morning habits of the upper middle class is wasteful snobbery. They're dead. Move on. And if you're a journalism major, strongly consider switching.

Re:Hmmm (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 5 years ago | (#29934723)

imagine if instead of the

Readers, please mentally remove "instead of" from that sentence. Thank you.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934895)

Grammar Nazi! You're worse than Hitler!!!

Re:Hmmm (2, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | about 5 years ago | (#29934843)

Fox News isn't a real news organisation not because it is right wing, but because it doesn't really care about actual truth, it just broadcasts whatever it likes regardless of the facts.

There are plenty of right wing news organisations that are critical of the Obama administration and the left in general that haven't been classified as "not news".

Faux News is a special case.

The BBC is a good example of a "state funded" news outlet. Not beholden to advertising, and managed by a trust (not the government) while drawing funding from the licence fee. I don't think it's any surprise to most people that in general opinion BBC news is considered to be high quality. You will get people from both sides of the spectrum claiming it is biased either too heavily left, or too heavily conservative but the fact that it is often accused of being both a left wing and right wing propaganda machine seems to indicate it might actually be doing ok.

If you think that a state funded news organisation could never criticise the money source then just check out the sexing up of the Iraq dossier and subsequent aftermath - a subject the BBC got themselves into hot water over. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutton_Inquiry [wikipedia.org] While ultimately it resulted in the resignation of the director general, the BBC pursued the story in the face of major government displeasure.

Re:Hmmm (1, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 5 years ago | (#29935317)

Fox News isn't a real news organisation not because it is right wing, but because it doesn't really care about actual truth, it just broadcasts whatever it likes regardless of the facts.

And how does that not make Fox News a news organization? Heavy bias is a common component of news organizations. Especially since what "it likes" to broadcast is often true?

Why switch? (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 5 years ago | (#29934891)

And if you're a journalism major, strongly consider switching.

If anything, current media sorely lacks qualified and educated journalists.
You know... people who actually studied ethics, writing, reporting, investigating etc.

Not people who climbed the social/corporate ladder based on the whiteness of their teeth and strength of their elbows (and/or knees).
Nor the people who believe that the Twitter is a viable tool for journalist reports or even an article or debate.

The real problem ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934593)

is that so many rich boys have been fleecing the gov for so long, that the other rich boys want in on this.

Now, the idiots in the press have not learned to adopt to new realities, so are calling on a free hand-out.

Instead, the press should be calling on the feds to do more to help MANUFACTURING. Why?

Because rebuilding the middle class and dropping our imports would actually strengthen THEIR position.

THey also DESPERATELY need to get new management. There is a real lack of intelligence running so many businesses.

Should not subsidise private media (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | about 5 years ago | (#29934599)

Government bailouts for private media companies would be a bad idea, similar to the unwise nature of subsidising private insurance companies. We are simply funding a biased source of information controlled by plutocratic media instutions with conflicts of interest.

Immediately when anyone mentioned public funding of a media institution, however, they assume immediately that would be a state run media that would propogate governments version of the story.

This is not the way it has to be set up. We could have a completely independnat source of news and information that was funded not by congress but directly from tax revenue, and whose directors are elected by the people. By charter design of this independant media all of the journalists involved would have complete journalistic freedom and would have a tenure, meaning that they would not have some corporation which receives financing from advertisers and perhaps is tied in with other economic interests looking over their shoulder. Such journalists could be randomly selected (like a jury selection pool from the general population), and some elected to assure all of the different ideological viewpoints are being represented. Since it is not tied to corporations or government, it would be completely free to report on things without having a conflict of interest.

The private media today is not independant, and instead of having an independant watch dog we have a media that has sympathies with large corporate interests which drive their advertising revenue, it is a conflict of interest, and therefore the media can be pushed into ignoring or whitewashing corporate corruption that it is exposing. Since the media today is owned by large corporate entities, which are connected to large parts of the corporate economy, it basically is an establishment "state media" that propagates an elites interests and viewpoints. People get far too wrapped up in terms like "government", "public", and so on, we need to realise that corporations are manifestation characteristics of government, they perhaps have even more power than government and have used their wealth to basically purchase the government, they are gaining control of almost the entire economy and effectively control our lives, if they dont like your hair or political views, they can fire you, and in this ownership society where all basic essentials are tied to money which is increasingly controlled in corporate dominated markets, this basically is a death sentence. Real power today lies with corporations, and unlike government, everyone does not have an equal right these corporations which have such a dramatic effect on our lives and our economy. Libertarians, ironically, attack the very democratic institutions that we have and that we actually elect, while at the same time supporting private corporations which are effectively enslaving us. All you need to do is control resources and you can control people by making people dependant on uyou for those resources. This is possible under capitalism and all you need is to get rid of any government regulation to have yourself a corporate police state where corporations for instance can tell you not to protest the way it is polluting a river or beating up workers, or else you will be fired and left absolutely homeless.

An independant media I think would be essential to helping us regain control over our democracy and our lives, as an independant media and source of news and information, and the ability for their to be pluralistic diversity where all sides are able to be heard equally so people can make up their own minds and are not indoctrinated and propogandised is essential to a functioning democracy and to freedom.

Re:Should not subsidise private media (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 years ago | (#29935241)

This is not the way it has to be set up. We could have a completely independnat source of news and information that was funded not by congress but directly from tax revenue

The tax rates would be set by Congress. And could be changed at will.

Which would, sooner or later, make the "independent news source" obliged to favour the views of the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, if no-one else. And for practical purposes, it would have to favour the dominant Party at any given time, since you need votes from a majority to keep the money flowing at the level you will have become accustomed to.

There Is No News Crisis (5, Insightful)

logicnazi (169418) | about 5 years ago | (#29934607)

There is a crisis for journalists as a result of the sudden crash in their industry but that crash isn't the result of some horrible failure of the market for journalism. Just the opposite. The newspaper industry has hit bottom because the internet has made the buisness of reporting so much more efficient. I mean just thinking about the huge number of daily papers across the states carrying the same national and international news on print is enough to make one sick at the waste. Not only does it cost a great deal to publish a print daily but each of these dailies employs editors and layout people to format the same news availible anywhere in their particular style. Many of them even insist on hiring their own reporters even when it's obviously duplicated effort (say reviewing national movies/TV shows).

Once competition drives most local papers to focus on local intersts and everyone to publish online it will free up a quite substantial amount of money for real reporting. Though actually a lot of what journalists call real reporting is duplicated effort for the sake of status. I mean does it really help the public understand what's going on better to have 40+ journalists at the white house press briefings and who knows how much AV equitment? If they just sent over a single camera crew and agreed on a way to pick questions there would be no harm to the quality of reporting. Much of this is just done because historically that behavior signaled prestige and seriousness in the news industry.

I don't think the newspapers are doing anything wrong. But when technology lets you accomplish the same job with disruptively less total effort (delivering news to the nation) many people are going to lose their jobs and most of the companies in that industry will go out of buisness. I feel sorry for the people with careers in the industry but I think there is every reason to believe that after things settle down there will be just as much investigative reporting and important journalism. There will just be less redundancy and a more efficient use of reporting resources.

Re:There Is No News Crisis (2, Informative)

Pope Jimbo (1023563) | about 5 years ago | (#29934703)

In the very near past, newspapers were making profit margins of 30%, today they are still making margins of 10%. The problem isn't that they are unprofitable (they are more profitable than health insurance companies - 6%), it is that they over extended themselves when times were good. http://online.barrons.com/article_email/SB125633654783004637-lMyQjAxMDI5NTI2NDMyMzQ2Wj.html?page=sp [barrons.com] Yes, they will have to update their business model to reflect the realities of the digital world, but most of their woes are related to making less of a profit than they had expected. There is a big difference between making less of a profit and not making any profit.

Re:There Is No News Crisis (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 5 years ago | (#29934873)

I think the problem is just the opposite, in that they are doing EVERYTHING wrong, because they are still trying to print the same paper they did in 1965, when if you missed the 6 'o clock news you were SOL. The reason I gave up on the local and state papers were the ONLY actual local and state stories were bake sales, who died, which little league team won the local game. That's it. No hard hitting questions, no looking into local or state grafts and corruption, just local "fluffy kitten" stories and the same old AP crap spewed with a hard spin on top to try to make it look like it wasn't a straight copypasta.

I just don't know if they CAN recover, or if they have been so infected with the "too big to fail" mentality, where they think they can just keep churning out the same tired old crap, "maximizing profit potential" by only keeping a few 'reporters" around to add spin and retype press releases, and generally acting the same as when LBJ was president. I bet if you took any of the failing papers and switched them for any of the other failing papers, frankly the readers wouldn't notice.

So I don't know whether the Internet bloggers can take up where they left off, but frankly the "reporting" done by the state and local papers I have read is simply worthless, and is therefor failing because its readers recognize it to be lousy. They simply don't report from what I have seen, at least around here, they just regurgitate and spin. With all the talk about how much we "need" a free press, if this is the sort of free press they are talking about frankly they can keep it.

It is the overhead (1)

fermion (181285) | about 5 years ago | (#29934617)

I can't help but thinking the problem with journalism, like anything else, is the overhead. Sure we all know that for most people the primary reason to have a business is to rake in the profits and have a high rise building,a chauffeured towncar, and a private plane. While there is nothing wrong with that, the question we can ask is should the government pay to support such a lifestyle, as it has done in the past.

Sure everyone says the problem is the cost of health care, and government regulation, and the excessive wages negotiated by unions. But none of this explains why AIG payed a multi hundred million dollar bonus to executives responsible for bankrupting the company(and before any says that they were not responsible, if management is not responsible, who is? The labour who everyone says is overpaid?) The fact is that management all too often overextends itself assuming that profits will accelerate and cover the additional expenses. For instance, the United way recently build a huge building in the most expensive part of the city outside of downtown at the height of the housing bubble. I am sure this was an investment, and the assumption was that it would pay for itself over time, but one wonders if the core business of the United Way is provided luxurious office space to it's staff, and what impact this has recently had on it's funds.

So the issue is often overhead. The local newspaper has a city block of prime downtown real estate. At one time this probably made sense. It is near city hall, the courthouse, and many other news making entities. Now I am not so sure. I know I would want the newspaper to decentralize and cut costs before giving it any money. Smaller cheaper office scattered through the city so it could more easily cover more news. Offices near school district offices, since parents will buy newspapers about thier kids. I know the printing press does not have to be downtown. Web services does not even have to be onsite.

And maybe none of this make sense. Maybe a lush building downtown does make the most sense. I don't know. I am not in the newspaper business, any more than I am in the finance business or the real estate business. Which is why my tax dollars should not go to directly propping up these businesses. I don't know how to manage these businesses. Evidently the people who think they do, don't, since the need a government bailout. And since we don't know how to do it, the best thing to do might be to let the firms fail, and allow new blood in that might have a better feeling for what is needed to make a go of it.

Re:It is the overhead (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29934917)

Buying or leasing a building downtown is cheaper, because of foolish politicians subsidizing the cost. Even in New York City the most-densely populated region in N. America with the highest land costs, a megacorp can often convince the NYC politicians to pay half the cost. Or even sometimes give the land for free!

Obviously it should not be that way, but it is.

Corruption runs rampant.

Just look around (4, Informative)

svirre (39068) | about 5 years ago | (#29934685)

In norway print media is getting significant goverment subsidies. The consequence is that rather than having media which is a watchdog over goverment, they have become a shill of the leftist 'big-goverment' political parties. (Since these are the parties that will guarantee their continued pipe into taxpayer money)

Every time somone brings up the question of subsidies you can trust that every newspaper will write long editorials why they need to keep getting money.

Particularly aggravating is the fact that a small selection of newspapers are getting preferential treatment (more money than others). These papers just happen to be the papers that used to be the publishing fronts for four leftist political parties. They claim to be independent of cource, but it won't take much reading to realize just how skewed their presentation really is.

So just take a look around and you will quickly find good reasons why not to start subsidizing the press.

Re:Just look around (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29935043)

In norway print media is getting significant goverment subsidies. The consequence is that rather than having media which is a watchdog over goverment, they have become a shill of the leftist 'big-goverment' political parties.

On the bright side, this system is no doubt responsible for getting our president a free Oscar, er, I mean, Nobel Prize!

What a brilliant idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934731)

If you can't convince people to pay for your product, have the government take it for you. It works for auto companies, why not reporters?

MSNBC (2, Insightful)

rlp (11898) | about 5 years ago | (#29934739)

We already have state-run media. They might as well get paid by the government for their services.

Faux News (0, Flamebait)

Lord Byron II (671689) | about 5 years ago | (#29934749)

I really, really, really don't want any of my money going toward Fox "News". Thank you.

DNC-NBC (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29934939)

Or the communications arm of the democratic party called MSNBC, NBC, GE, or any other organization that stands to gain huge profits from Carbon Taxes. 'k thanks.

Who pays the piper call the tune (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 5 years ago | (#29934795)

Papers print what their owners tell them to.

If a newspaper owner holds a certain view, then that's the line the editorial tone will take. It's a long standing conclusion with "independent" publications and will only transfer into government subsidised publications. If you want state-subsidised newspapers, then expect them to carry stories that show their paymasters in a beneficial light.

God help you when elections come around.

what nature of flock has no shepherd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934797)

lost perhaps? clearly easier game for the 'wolves'.

the lights are all about us now.

Let them die (3, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | about 5 years ago | (#29934841)

News is alive an well, just not in the traditional, dominant media outlets. We have online blogs and weekly newspapers that are in many cases thriving. In my hometown, a tiny rural weekly called "The Altamont Enterprise" has such a demand for local advertising that they've had to add a second section. 15 years ago, it was a 10 page weekly, now its closer to 50.

Why the growth? The local newspaper, the Hearst-owned Albany Times-Union doesn't really provide a service to people in the outlying areas of Albany. Even within the area that the traditional paper claims to serve, the editorial practices of the paper marginalize it as a provider of news that people want to hear. Often, you know when important things are going on because they don't appear in the paper.

When the daily papers die, others will take their place. The only thing missing will be the editorial boards that are typically in cahoots with politicians and business. Keeping them on life support is suppressing the development of new news organizations.

Government money == government control. (3, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about 5 years ago | (#29934855)

Anyone who believes otherwise is a fool (or a liar who wants government control).

the news is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934929)

I can't stress how important good journalism is. It's vital to a democracy. Look around, Kwame Kilpatrick, the former Mayor of Detroit, was taken down by hard work done by a newspaper. Feet on the ground, reviewing the details detecting millions of dollars of waste and fraud. I believe they said they had over $70k in legal expenses just in that one story. A newspaper did what the feds couldn't.

I think the model that might be sustainable is switching to a more NPR format. Supported by people who value the news, not by the ad revenue. Go non-profit, rely on donations. I believe NPR gets a majority of it's funding from donations, not from the government. But I strongly strongly hope that good journalism doesn't die. And don't cite blogs and the new journalism. How many blogs do anything more than recycle news from whatever news source.

Government money for newspapers... (1)

russotto (537200) | about 5 years ago | (#29934941)

...won't lead to government-controlled newspapers like government money for car companies won't lead to government controlled car companies. You'll never see a President firing a CEO of a private company just because that company gets governmen.... err, wait, that actually did happen, didn't it? Never mind.

Though the Washington Post could accept government money without conflict so long as a Democratic administration was in charge.

As A Former Newspaper Employee (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29934985)

I worked for the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Newspaper Agency (DNA) for a number of years. I'd like to share my thoughts on why newspapers companies are failing.

First, in this era where Content is King, the quality of newspaper content has been declining steadily. Most reporting is little more than regurgitated press releases and wire stories. The original writing is largely confined to the sports section. Reporting quality has been discussed to death so I won't go into details. Suffice to say that most of the original reporting in the main section is stories about stories. These secondary stories have very little value.

Second is the rampant cronyism in the executive ranks. At the DNA I watched a seemingly endless parade of senior executives come and go. These people move from one newspaper to another every couple of years. Much ballyhooed when they arrive, they never accomplish anything. At least two senior execs are on their second round at the DNA. These are the people who lead the newspaper industry right to the brink. They do not know what to do now. Most of them are nearing retirement age and I doubt the newspaper industry can recover until they do retire.

Next, ignoring the web was a huge mistake. It might be fatal. As an example, in the spring of 2009, the new President of the DNA (he was President of The Denver Post a few years ago) said something like "We've barely scratched the surface of what we're going to do with the web". The voice in my head was screaming "That's why they're eating our lunch!" So what have they done with the web since then? If you read the preceding paragraph you already know the answer to that question.

Finally, there is the revenue problem. The last twenty years or so have seen an explosion in the amount of available advertising space. Think back a few years, half a dozen local TV stations, a few radio stations, and your local newspaper were the main venues for advertising. Today, advertising is everywhere. It's a simple case of Supply and Demand. The skyrocketing supply drove prices down. Meanwhile, the price of newsprint was also skyrocketing. It's reached the point where newspapers can't compete because their costs are too high.

So what's the solution? I don't know. I do know that government subsidies aren't the answer. Propping up an industry that's killing itself won't help you or me. It will help those old newspaper execs retire comfortably. That is all.

Bunch of hacks (1)

Sean (422) | about 5 years ago | (#29935027)

Are already bought and paid for anyway. Who are they kidding?

The BBC model works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29935055)

The BBC is paid for by a Tax. They are not influenced by government or commercial interests, and run a highly respected news organisation.

I vote for a % of GDP tax to be given to a organisations like the BBC whose job is to entertain and inform.

Wrong way around (1)

GrubLord (1662041) | about 5 years ago | (#29935081)

Seems to me, if people are turning away from the 'educated' journalists in news-media and reading bloggers, etc., instead... a better solution than forcing the government to artificially extend the life of print publications would be to launch education or certification programmes to improve the quality of the free online news-media. Bloggers and websites are already giving us for free what we used to pay journalists for... if we can use these programmes to increase the quality of these news sources to be equal to or greater than the current print media (not hard in some cases), and give them the rights, resources and opportunities to investigate and report unbiased, factual news, then the death of the traditional media would hardly be felt by anybody. It's easy to slip partisan politics and sensationalist bullshit past your editor these days - but try to post that kind of crap on Wikipedia, and see how long it takes for the real facts to reassert themselves. People don't need newspapers any more, they just need to work together and to know what they're doing. Look at the quality of Wikinews today, with no paid employees, no particular educational aids or special resources, and tell me the government's money is better spent propping up failing media rather than making the New Media better.

Um, yes. (1)

ErikZ (55491) | about 5 years ago | (#29935083)

Yes you called for a state run media.

Just like angry advertisers can get an objectionable story pulled, so can an angry government. Because they pay you.

All for profit media is state run (1)

TheRealRainFall (1464687) | about 5 years ago | (#29935119)

" Remember, in times of conflict all for-profit media repeats the ruling paty's information. Therefore, all for-profit media becomes state-run."- Anti-Flag

But Then What? (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 5 years ago | (#29935175)

If end consumers continue to buy less and less of the crap that print media churn out now, as they have done for a decade or so on the news channels, what do you do when "consumers" don't read the "newsloggers" (or whatever you want to call them)?

How do you fire a reporter once he is on the governement dole and you now have a beaurocrat in charge of "paying" newsloggers or whatever?

Incestuous is the best word I can think of right now.

Here's a solution... (1)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | about 5 years ago | (#29935235)

Bring back Calvin & Hobbes [wikipedia.org] !

Yes the above in in jest, but only partly so. As part of the downhill slide of newspapers, has been an old staple, the funnies. Even if you can find them in your local paper, they are usually too small to read.

What planet are you all living on? (2, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | about 5 years ago | (#29935325)

I can't believe the comments that say that government-funded media will be Soviet-style Propaganda machines. Are you people out of your minds? Can anyone here name me one program or reporter more critical of the government than Bill Moyers? His programs get financed by PBS, a government corporation.

In fact, that's exactly what corporations want you to believe, because public funding will be the only thing that frees journalists from the corporate teat. It will effectively shut down the corporate media oligarchy we have today.

Are you all slaves for the corporations or whatever organization pays your salaries? Is that the only lens through which you can see the world?

The BBC is a good example. (4, Informative)

EWAdams (953502) | about 5 years ago | (#29935355)

The BBC is the single best news organization in the world, full stop. Nobody else comes close for global reach and insight. It receives "government" money, i.e. the TV license fee. As a result, it is required by law to be politically neutral, which is one of the best things about it. (So too, is NPR, and if you think NPR is biased, as many conservatives do, it just shows where YOU stand.)

Because the BBC is government funded it is watched like a hawk by everybody -- the party in power, the party in opposition, the taxpayers' lobby, and so on. It just cut out 20% of its own management thanks to public pressure.

It's not perfect; there is waste and abuse at times. But it beats the hell out of any American news organization whatsoever.

Manufacturing Consent (1)

conner_bw (120497) | about 5 years ago | (#29935405)

Every time there's a job crisis in the automotive industry, there's a news story. If there's a crisis in any other industry, the stories don't happen at the same frequency. Plain and simple, car manufacturers are the big advertisers. Why is "recession" a big story? Because the industries affected are advertisers, and it affects media revenues. Smells like 1992. [imdb.com]

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